Oilers Could Pull Off Potentially Massive Trade Deadline Deal with Blues

According to Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff, the St. Louis Blues have shopped goaltender Jordan Binnington around the NHL. Seravalli writes, “Yes, sources say Blues GM Doug Armstrong contacted teams perceived to be active on the goaltending market and pitched the 2019 Stanley Cup champion as a potential solution to their problems.” One can only assume the Edmonton Oilers were on a shortlist of teams Armstrong touched base with.

The Oilers have spent most of the season uncertain about their goaltending tandem, and in many ways, the organization still doesn’t know if the combination of Mikko Koskinen and Mike Smith will be good enough. Binnington is likely not the solution, but the Oilers should be thinking about it.

Blues Will Likely Be Asking For Too Much

On the surface, the trade sounds like a salary dump from the Blues’ perspective. Binnington makes $6 million per season for the next five seasons, but the reason the team wants to move him is so they can get Ville Husso signed to a long-term extension without having to spend upwards of $10 million on a goalie tandem.

Ville Husso St. Louis Blues
Ville Husso, St. Louis Blues (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

That said, a salary cap dump doesn’t always equate to a discount in terms of a potential trade. The Blues are in the thick of a playoff race and it makes no sense to give Binnington away, even if the sole purpose of a move is to focus on a different netminder. Moving Binnington is a risky play if the Blues decide to pull the trigger because it lowers their chances of playoff success if Husso struggles. In order to take that risk, they’ll need to have something to show for the deal and something that helps them in this year’s postseason.

Binnington Might Be Too Expensive for Oilers

It would be nice if Edmonton had a solid goaltender locked in on a long-term deal and the club didn’t have to worry about their netminding for the next several years. Binnington is only 28 and he’s had multiple seasons where he was an excellent backstop on a strong team. That said, $6 million for five more years is a gamble, even for the Oilers whose situation is such that they’ve been looking to solidify this position for some time.

Jordan Binnington St. Louis Blues
Jordan Binnington, St. Louis Blues (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The question isn’t so much the money — although $6 million is no small amount — but what the Oilers would be getting for that $6 million. As Seravalli points out, “Binnington has been badly outplayed by Ville Husso this season, who is also a pending UFA. Binnington’s .903 save percentage is exactly league average this year; Husso is well north at .928 over nearly the same number of appearances.” The Oilers would actually be better served to go after Husso as a free agent if the Blues can’t get a deal done.

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If that isn’t in the cards because the Blues would rather spend money on two goalies than lose Husso, there will be options out there during the offseason, and locking into Binnington for five more seasons essentially guarantees a player like Evander Kane walks this summer and it lowers the odds of extending one of Kailer Yamamoto or Jesse Puljujarvi.

All that said, Binnington is a more proven goalie than the Oilers have had in years.

Would the Blues Want the Oilers Trade Assets?

If Edmonton and St. Louis made a trade and Binnington became an Oiler, the question about who you trade is an important one for GM Ken Holland. He’s got both of his goaltenders back and finally healthy. He’s getting almost all of his regular NHL players back — with the exception of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who is close to a return. He’s going to finally see what this team can do when all the pieces are in place.

Any deal starts with something like Mike Smith or Mikko Koskinen, Josh Archibald, and a pick. There’s no telling if that even moves the needle for St. Louis. It solves some of the Oilers’ salary cap concerns, and both Koskinen and Archibald have deals that expire, but the question of how badly the Blues really want to move Binnington remains. Another offer might be Zack Kassian ($3.2 million) and Smith ($2.2 million), but the Oilers would probably have to throw in a sweetener since neither Kassian’s nor Smith’s deals expire at the end of the season.

Not only that but Binnington has a full no-trade clause worked into his deal and he’d had to approve any trade to Edmonton.

Binnington certainly wouldn’t be the worst option for the Oilers. That said, there’s a lot to lose from the perspective of both teams. Is it a deal the Oilers would consider? So far, it sounds like no as Seravalli points out there hasn’t been much traction as the Blues explore the market.

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